We only get one heart, and it’s essential to take care of it.
It can sometimes be hard for parents to keep on top of their own health when looking after the family, but there’s no underestimating how important it is to maintain a healthy heart. Having a healthy heart doesn’t mean you need to be going to the gym every day, only eat non-fat spread on your toast and avoid fats at all costs (especially when some can be good for you). From knowing how to make small changes and look for the warning signs, even when they’re invisible, you can keep your heart in good condition.
Here are some tips and ideas you can use in daily life that will see you become smarter with your heart and hopefully help others in your home think about how to be heart healthy.
Make subtle changes
The most significant change, in my opinion, starts at the dinner table. If yours is a house where there’s a fight over who gets to us the salt shaker first, or there’s chat of what snacks are to be had while homework is getting done, there are easy ways to shift towards heart-healthy food.
A very easy tip is to swap out sweeties for pineapple. Why pineapple I hear you cry? Well, it has an enzyme called bromelain. You’re not expected to know what it is, but in short, it helps your body to break down a fibre called fibrin, which itself can cause blood clots. With it being so sweet, it’s the kind of things parents and kids can snack on without much issue. Just make sure it’s fresh and not dried fruit you get in bags as they’ll usually be preserved with sugar.
You’ll also need to think you have to substitute things like salt, butter etc. for fat-free or low-fat alternatives, but you don’t really. As long as you think smartly about how you use ingredients that are high in natural fat when cooking dinner, you’ll be able to make a meal that family is happy with without loading up on salt.
Know the warning signs
Everyone should know the subtle signs that you or a family member could have a heart problem. The British Heart Foundation’s website is an excellent resource to becoming heart smart and recognising traits which could make you want to go and see your GP.
Some of the risk factors to look out for include:
- High blood pressure
- Diabetes or heart problems in your family history
- Physical Inactivity
The last factor is essential for families.
Kids and parents are much less active than they used to be and I’m a big believer that any evening when the sun is out, or it’s not too wet is an evening to put the tablets & phones down and go outside. Even if it is just a walk to the park and back, your body will thank you for it.
See a specialist
If you know your family has a history of heart problems, and in most cases everyone in the family is healthy, it is a good idea to go and see a specialist. For example. OneWelbeck Heart Health is a specialist clinic with cardiologists who can examine your family history and see if someone as at risk.
It also helps to stay abreast of the issue with any free help you can get. I already mentioned the British Heart Foundation, they have a fantastic free magazine called Heart Matters that is a treasure trove of not just heart-healthy tips but ways to make small changes that help you lead a healthier life.
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